This is a guest post from Amanda Winn of the Children’s Network of Solano County, a partner agency in our diaper distribution network. With your support we’re thrilled to provide diapers to needy families of Solano County.
In the summer of 2009, local Family Resource Centers (FRCs) throughout Solano County began commenting that more and more families were coming in looking for assistance with diapers. Staff members began noticing mothers standing outside WalMart and Target asking not for food, but for packages of diapers for their children. We knew the recession was hitting Solano families hard, but we had no idea just how bad things were until we began digging a little deeper.
In a matter of months, the United Way of the Bay Area, Asset Policy Initiative of California, and the Associated Press reported independently of each other that Solano County was one of the most stressed Bay Area counties due to the current economic downturn. An Economic Stress Index created by the Associated Press and published in Contra Costa Times listed Solano as THE most stressed Bay Area County based on local bankruptcy, foreclosure, and unemployment rates. According to the American Community Survey, of all families in Solano County living at or below poverty level, over 80% have children under the age of 18 in the home.
Solano County is home to the Integrated Family Support Initiative (IFSI), a collaborative of public and private agencies that provide in-home support to isolated and at-risk families with children 0-5 years of age in the home. At these meetings, public health nurses, child welfare workers, and local non-profits were all saying the same thing. There were very limited resources available for families who needed diapers. The agencies knew where to turn for cash aid, food assistance, or shelter assistance, but there were no formal supports for diapers. The Family Resource Centers (FRCs), neighborhood-based agencies that provide basic needs and support services to local families, were reporting not only a dramatic spike in the number of families needing support, but a new intensity in the type of services being sought. Families were coming to the FRCs with a host of concerns ranging from basic needs access and unemployment to homelessness and domestic violence. Many times, the same family would walk through the doors of an FRC or be referred to IFSI with many of these issues simultaneously.
As local agencies are being forced to reduce services, limit hours of operation, or close their doors entirely due to local and State-wide budget cuts, families who find themselves in crisis are left with fewer options and available resources. In September of 2009, the Children’s Network began a County-wide diaper drive. Since then, over 21,550 diapers have been collected from a wide-range of individuals and organizations, and we’re still going! The Diaper Drive has been one way the community can come together to help local families feel a little less alone.
Support our work to bring diapers to children in Solano County and beyond. Here are three ways you can take action:
- Donate Help a Mother Out’s through Network for Good. All proceeds benefit our diaper program, enabling HAMO to bulk purchase diapers.
- Donate diapers directly to Children’s Network of Solano County through their Amazon wishlist.
- Local donations can also be made to The Children’s Network. 2320 Courage Drive, Suite 107, Fairfield CA 94533. (707) 421-7229
Amanda Hopping-Winn is the Community Organization Analyst at the Children’s Network of Solano County. She is a native of the Philadelphia area and has focused her professional career in direct practice and policy advocacy for children and families, especially those with limited incomes. Amanda received her MSW degree from UC Berkeley before joining the Children’s Network in 2009. She and her family live in the East Bay and spend most of their free time hiking, frequenting dog parks with their beloved pup, and traveling.